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2012 Game Changer: Jil Greene

Vice president of human resources and community relations, Harrah's New Orleans

November 29, 2012

In Jil Greene's opinion, human resources is not a career; it's a life calling. She doesn't look at her position as a job. Instead, she considers it an opportunity to empower people personally, physically and financially.

Greene, 40, has been pursuing this opportunity with Harrah's for a little more than a year now. "When I got here, I found this very long, tenured employee group that was a little tired, very tough and, I'll be honest, a little cynical," Greene says. She believes the devastation from Hurricane Katrina and the economic hardships of the Great Recession were to blame for Harrah's fatigued workforce.

One of the ways Greene sought to ameliorate Harrah's workplace culture was by creating a live event for employees called "The Real Deal: Live." She wanted to make sure all of Harrah's employees were getting the information published in the Real Deal, the company's monthly newsletter.

"It has great information, but I don't know if everybody really benefits from what's in there," Greene says. "The Real Deal: Live" premiered in January. The event is structured like a daytime talk show, highlighting the information in the company newsletter as well as the casino's top-performing departments, Greene says.

During the first show, employees asked Greene to bring back the "second line" to march through the casino on Saturdays. A New Orleans tradition, the second line is a group of people who sing and dance as they follow behind a brass marching band. When the recession hit, the second line was deemed an unnecessary expense.

To educate employees about advancement opportunities within the company, Greene developed a Career Day Workshop. In one segment of the workshop, "employees identified where in the company they wanted to go. I gave them the job description that went with that job and they had to write down three things from that job description they didn't have so they could work on it."

Regardless of the improvements made to Harrah's workplace culture, Greene says, "we are not all the way to bright yet, but we have made a lot of progress, and I'm very, very excited about that."

Max Mihelich is Workforce's editorial intern. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.

Workforce Management, December 2012, p. 25 -- Subscribe Now!